Heap of the Week: 1998 BMW M3 Evolution Convertible

This is the type of accident damage that terrifies me. Not overly significant on a late-model car but a death-sentence for those of us braving the dangers of everyday traffic in older daily drivers. Of course, I can’t imagine the anxiety caused by using an older Euro import model that falls even farther outside the realm of insurance industry logic, making it all the more painful to see this E36 M3 Evolution convertible on life support.

Although it seems minimal, there is supposedly $3,800 in damage done to the rear of this Hellrot droptop, enough to test even the most committed of owners – especially when the car is worth a little over half that on the European market. I’d love to see this car brought back to life by a competent body shop, but there is a lot underneath the skin with a rear impact like this. I hope the seller didn’t see the hit coming, because that’s enough to give you nightmares of the day your Euro-import M3 was eradicated from the vehicular gene pool.

Year: 1998
Model: M3 Evolution Convertible
Engine: 3.2 liter inline-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 100,000 mi
Price: $8,500

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW M3 Evolution Convertible on R3VLimited

1998 Euro Evolution convertible. Approximately 100k miles. Located in Florida. Clean Florida title. I’ve had this car since 2008. Two years ago, I was rear ended and it took over a year of fighting with the insurance company to settle the claim. The damage is approximately $3800. However, I have bought around $700 worth of parts, therefore the balance of labor and parts is about $3100.00 The damaged area is the body between the tail lights. It can be pulled by a good metal worker or cut off and new panel welded on.

The car is a six speed.
Helrot on BMW Individual Imola yellow extended leather.
Manual seats.
Tilt steering wheel
JB racing LTW flywheel and E34 M5 cluth (3k miles of wear).
The car will come on whatever wheels i can find to make it roll.
A large number of maintenance items were addressed 3k miles ago including trans fluid, RTABs, LCABs, tierods, diff fluid.
The top is in decent shape, however, I was tired of dealing with microswitches and resetting tops, etc so I accumulated the parts to convert the top to full manual operation. Those are included.

The car has sat since 2011, HOWEVER, it has had stabil fuel stabilizer in the tank and it has been started and moved regularly (at least monthly).

The price is $8500. It is not negotiable.

I’m putting this up for sale because I have too many BMWs and too many projects. Please keep in mind that I could get far more by parting it. However, I’d like to see it back on the road. I do have an E30 M3 that I’m considering dropping the swap into if this does not sell within a few weeks. I’m open to trading for a good condition S14B23 (or B25).

Would I fix it? I’d fix my E30 for sure, but the M3 might have to go the junkyard in the sky. I imagine the seller here is thinking the same thing, especially when considering the possibility of forking over nearly $4K to get the bodywork sorted.


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7 Comments on "Heap of the Week: 1998 BMW M3 Evolution Convertible"

  1. KevinR says:

    This car is easily fixed by a competent body shop; I really don’t understand why someone would let it sit for a few years. I’ve seen far worse damage repaired to a very high standard. I’d be more concerned about the uncertainty of included wheels, the potential too issues and the fact that the car has not been driven in a couple of years. That being said, I don’t think the seller has discounted the price enough to account for the damage and the accompanying loss of value to the car.

  2. David says:

    The seller keeps evading ppl’s questions abt how it was imported, who did the federalization, etc. Anyone who asks a question he branded a “dreamer and time waster”.

  3. KevinR says:

    Sorry, that was “potential top issues” (not “too issues) in my post above. I can’t type so well on my tablet…

  4. JP says:

    David, The only thing I know about how it was imported, is that it was registered with about 5k kilometers in Miami in 1998. I only know that from running a carfax. I can’t give information that I don’t know. I am the third owner. The second owner bought it from Vista BMW in Miami. The second owner had little information to pass on to me in terms of how it got into the country.

    Kevin, The top is pretty good. It works. However, nearly every E36 convertible has top issues. Both motors work. The root of the issue is likely tension straps. I live in Florida, where rain is highly unpredictable. More than once, I’ve had the top go into fault mode and fail to close. That risk is unacceptable. My solution was a manual top conversion. Others may choose to replace tension straps and keep the power top. Again, these are issues typical of any E36 convertible.

    As far as the price goes, here is my reasoning:
    S50B32 engines are $4k-$5k. Let’s take the lower end and say $4k.
    Euro 6 speeds with driveshaft are $1500, if you can find one.
    JB racing flywheel with clutch setup. This would bring $400, in my opinion.
    3.64 E36 limited slips are approximately $400.
    Bosch Euro headlights with leveling motors would easily fetch $400
    E36 3 spoke //M steering wheel with airbag $300
    BMW Individual leather interior. The value of this unknown but I think $1k would be reasonable.

    With just that short list, we are at $6800 in parts. There are front and rear //M bumpers, fenders, hood, top and boot motors, cluster, brakes, etc….. You could very easily get to well over the price.

    Again, I have an E30 M3 sitting in my garage, waiting for an engine. This car could easily be parted and the drive train used on that car. However, I don’t destroy cars. I’ve “saved” a number and would like to see this one on the road. My desire to see it on the road must be balanced by the bottom line. Additionally, I will not sell it at a price that makes it attractive to part out. If it’s going to be parted out, I can do it and use many of the parts myself. Finally, there are attractive details/incentives to anyone who actually buys and puts the car back on the road. I’m disclosing details of that to any serious potential buyers.

    Thank you for your comments. They help to illustrate the concerns of potential buyers. If anyone would like to discuss the car, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


  5. AlwaysFixing says:

    JP, very interesting and good response.

    I agree that the bottom line has to be considered when saving a car. I took some grief for sending a somewhat unique car to be parted/destroyed. When I was offering it for half of book value, I had no takers. (Enthusiasts were happy to point out its already disclosed flaws, and tell me how much they knew about the mark.)

    In the end, we only have so many resources, garage stalls, and time for projects.

  6. Pete says:

    There are two major issues with this car;

    1. Without DOT and EPA release letters you will not be able to register this M3 in any US state, except possibly FL since it is already registered there. I have registered two gray market cars and here is the process, which is likely similar in other states; you walk into a DMV office with title and bill of sale, the DMV enters the VIN into their computer, if it comes back as a non-US vehicle the bureaucrat will then ask for the appropriate federalization docs. When you can’t produce them you will face the following choices; properly federalize it, sell it to another person or part it.

    2. Car has significant accident damage. $4k repair quote should be used as a low end guess.

    These 2 issues taken together mean this is a parts car. $6k range is where the car should be priced IMO. I would love to put this drivetrain into an E36 M3 sedan but they are all OBD2 so it would be a nightmare to get it to pass emissions.

  7. JP says:


    At $6k, the car dies. That’s the bottom line. As far as the repair quote, it came from the top collision repair shop within 50 miles of my location. All damage is visible. There is no hidden damage that would require supplements.